I'm one of those 'old fashioned' sort of fellas. Never really thought much about it growing up, to be honest. Mammy Jester would instill into us manners using 'The Fear Approach' which basically came down to fear of being clapped up the side of the head or publicly embarrassed for not displaying basic manners.

Not good manners, basic.

Basic manners include simple things like giving up your seat for an elderly person or obviously pregnant lady on the bus. Not just because you are sitting in the designated seating area, but because that is what good, basic, mannered people do. Holding doors open for people, offering to carry something heavy for somebody clearly struggling.

Basic stuff.

You won't be going out winning any awards with such manners, but you will be doing something nice for a stranger at the end of the day.

It is something I have partially carried through into my later years. Only the other week I was on a train home and managed to get that most fabled of things: a seat. I dropped down, opened my book and started reading. At the next stop a crowd of people boarded the carriage and a woman stood next to me.

She wasn't pregnant or infirm, but she looked bollocks tired and had a big bag of shopping with some young kid toys on top. As she stood next to my seat I got up and offered it to her. She protested, even making the joke that I didn't think her holiday weight was a baby, and only took the seat because I insisted. She was very grateful and you could see it did make a difference to her day.

Basic manners.

Lately my pregnant wife, The ladyfriend, has been having a great deal of trouble getting similar basic manners from people on her train. Primarily males. She is what doctor's describe as a 'neat bump', but is still carrying a baby and not just taking two desserts at dinner. Yet most mornings when she gets onto the train she has to ask people sitting in the priority seats would they mind moving so she could sit down.

The last time she did this the guy actually complained that he had to give up the seat. This, boys and girls, is what we call an unmitigated asshole.

I'm not saying that the ladyfriend should automatically be offered the seat (although...she is nor am I a secret Feminazi (seriously I hate those lot, particularly the ones who want to get rid of 'Father's Day' because it is offensive to single mothers but have no issue with 'Mother's Day'...) I'm just wondering how basic manners seem to have totally left the commuting public.

This morning is a prime example of what is wrong with the departure of basic manners. Ladyfriend gets on the train, it's packed, but now she has been beaten down. She no longer wants to argue with people to get a seat. As she stands there another woman calls out to her and offers her her seat. Ladyfriend declines because the woman is sitting in by the window, has a lot of stuff to pack away if she is going to move, and doesn't want to cause any hassle. Meanwhile the guy in the aisle seat just watches the conversation unfold and says nothing.


He let's the woman pack up her bits, then complains when she has to slid past him then makes the Ladyfriend slid into the now empty seat.

Whatever about basic manners surely common sense would have made him think about offering his own seat.

I dunno, the more I learn about humans the more I love my dog.


Leave a comment...

Name (required)